Tag Archives: LectorSA

Overcome the loss in learning due to COVID-19 : Part 2

Contributed by Minda Marshall of LectorSA, a member of ADESSA

Finding the way out of the storm: what is needed?

Lectorsa Oct 2020 no 2

Governments have already identified that education plays a significant role to improve human capital. Good education outcomes ensure macro-economic stability; ignite inclusive growth, and advance their country’s ability to be globally competitive. Improved education outcomes also lead to an increase in tax revenue and GDP. It lessens the demand on social services, health services and safety services. It contributes to low levels of crime and improved health.  A lot has been done to research new and efficient ways to improve education. New curricula are developed, and vast investment is made to enhance learning environments.

The most significant gap currently challenging the improvement of educational outcomes globally is the lack of capacity in our learners, students and workforce to intelligently work with visual information. To achieve this, and other development outcomes, the foundational skills and strategies needed for visual intelligence should receive urgent attention.

The basis of learning is to interact intelligently with information. This includes the skills and strategies needed to find relevant information. To know how to connect new information to your schema of understanding. And to understand how to use the information you have now internalised to create new knowledge. Visual intelligence is the ability to process, understand and express visual information. One of the cornerstones of visual intelligence is reading with adequate comprehension. If 74% of our Grade 4’s cannot understand what they are reading, they will struggle to work with, and learn from visual information for the rest of their lives! They won’t be able to use the information they have to make intelligent choices towards a better future for themselves and their children.

Reading is not just recognising symbols, or reading and writing basic words – there is much more to reading than what meets the eye. Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols for the intention of deriving meaning (reading comprehension) and/or constructing meaning. Good reading does not develop naturally as the human brain is not ‘pre-wired’ for written information, but for spoken. This is one of the reasons that humans have, for generations, transferred knowledge through singing and story-telling. With the advent of written language, we’ve developed different strategies of training the brain to read with understanding. This has arguably been one of the most significant challenges facing nations in the last few decades. One of the critical aspects of learning that was recently proven through neuroscience is that the human brain is a self-organising creative system.

To find out more – follow this link to the full article.

www.eyebraingym.com

Overcome the loss in learning due to COVID-19 : Part 1

Contributed by Minda Marshall of LectorSA, a member of ADESSA

A wise man once told the story of how he went on a joy ride with a boat off the South African coast. It was a beautiful day, but within a short time, a storm came up. He described how thankful he was that he had an experienced skipper. I remember how he told us that he was standing behind the skipper – watching over his shoulder.  The skipper explained to him: “You must be able to see the way through the waves,” as they safely navigated to the beach.

Lectorsa Oct 2020

In the eye of the storm

Governments, educators, parents and students are currently facing a perfect storm. The challenge now is to find the way out of the storm. International figures indicate that 1.6 billion students around the world were out of school at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020. Many countries will be severely challenged to achieve their Learning Poverty goals.[i] 

According to the World Bank,we need rapid, decisive, and coordinated action. They indicate that we were already living in a learning crisis before the pandemic. The situation threatens to pose a massive setback to hard-won gains in human capital.[ii] Before the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the world was already struggling with a learning crisis, with 53 per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries living in learning poverty being unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10. Up to 7 million students from primary and secondary education could drop out of school due to the income shock of the pandemic alone.[iii]

The added challenges we face is that I4R is placing a higher demand on learning, unlearning and relearning. We will all need to achieve higher, to develop more, to read faster, think smarter, learn better in the future. Even students that were doing good before might not be doing well enough going forward. We are all faced with oceans of information.  Neuroscience has shown that the cognitive load exceeds the capacity of the working memory, intellectual abilities decrease. We must find a way to increase life-long learning effectively and to bridge gaps caused in learning by, and worsen through, the lockdown.

To read the full article, click here.

Find out how you can join us in finding the way out of the storm. www.eyebraingym.com


[i] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/06/18/covid-19-could-lead-to-permanent-loss-in-learning-and-trillions-of-dollars-in-lost-earnings

[ii] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/06/18/covid-19-could-lead-to-permanent-loss-in-learning-and-trillions-of-dollars-in-lost-earnings

[iii] https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/education/publication/simulating-potential-impacts-of-covid-19-school-closures-learning-outcomes-a-set-of-global-estimates

No matter where you start from …

With great excitement, Lectorsa and M3line launched the EyeBrainGym during the past few weeks in Limpopo, Freestate, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN.

Thomas Marshall, director of M3line, shared “Eye-Brain-Gym, our solution is a customised Eye-Brain training course with an individualised specific Game Plan to suit your schedule and or needs. It offers a selection of dynamic games and reading actions culminating in cognitive skills sessions to enhance the executive function in the brain and the interaction in the brain to move information faster to the pre-frontal cortex. Our exercises will improve your comprehension and bring you to a new level of competence when dealing with visual information.”

Lectorsa 18 March 2020 1

M3line, in collaboration with Lectorsa, have developed EyeBrainGym based on ten years’ data with more than 100,000 case studies in LAB-on-line. Lectorsa have seen great results in developing visual processing, reading and comprehension for their users. There was great excitement at the launch of EyeBrainGym. The hope is that this product can build on many other significant efforts to MAXimise the #ReadingRevolution South Africa so desperately need.

According to the research, everyone can and should read more, see faster, think clearer and reason better.

“Our focus is to advance visual intelligence while addressing processing, reading and comprehension development from Grade R to Grade 12 learners in schools. We collaborate with universities to develop subject-specific materials for tertiary students and have high expectations a better future for all. We’ve seen an overall improvement of 6 years average for our users”, shared Minda Marshall Director of Lectorsa.

 The vision is to ensure connected students, to transform educational experiences and create engaged citizens. The directors explained that EyeBrainGym was developed in a way that games are used in specific sequence and intervals with researched weights and timeslots to achieve certain outcomes regarding visual processing and cognitive skills development. The aim is to develop a coherent mind, to achieve improved interaction with visual information through improved visual and cognitive skills.

Lectorsa 18 March 2020 2

The evening concluded with nominations for a school or organisation to be sponsored by guests to give students access to the new system. Congratulations, to Mbokota High School in Limpopo who won 30 EyeBrainGym subscriptions to the value of R114,000.00. The project will kick off at the rural school in Limpopo after the April holidays.

NOW, imagine a world of engaged and connected citizens, a world with infinite possibilities and endless opportunities. See passionate people with a solutions mindset, creating a better future for all. A world of prosperous, generous people. The world of EyeBrainGym! Join us in making this a reality for every student in our nation, for every worker, for every manager. Contact our office on office@lectorsa.com if you are interested in supporting a school to activate EyeBrainGym for their students.

Everyone can read better

President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of ensuring that all South African children learn to read during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 20 June.

Sharing President Ramaphosa’s vision, Lectorsa has taken the lead and launched their #YesIcan Literacy campaign at the beginning of the year. The Lectorsa team is determined to work with all interested schools, businesses and NGO’s to use more than thirty years of research to improve literacy skills in South African schools and boost educational outcomes. The aim is to equip South Africa’s young people affectively with the right skillsets, to grow with an ever-changing world.

LAB-on-line data refers to more than 95 000 individual profiles (mostly ESLS across South Africa) that demonstrate how to not only improve reading and visual literacy, but also cognitive abilities for users from the first year of schooling through to management levels.

 In 2018, one of the groups they empowered, Grade 4 learners, improved their reading skills to a Grade 7 level, measured to international norms and standards.

Director of Lectorsa, Minda Marshall said, “These learners, also mostly English Second Language Students (ESLS) exceeded the expected outcomes and gave us great hope for what can be achieved with the right type of intervention.”

Indeed, the debate concerning at what age students should start the language of instruction as English and not mother tongue has been raging for several years. Important aspects that deserve our attention in this area are:

  • Mother tongue instruction in reading is important[i]
  • “Instruction in English from as early as possible is the best way to become fluent in English.” As indicated by the latest cognitive research “If you want to have native-like knowledge of English grammar, you should start from up to 10 years old.”[ii]
  • The current implementation preference in most South African public schools, which is the option to use mother-tongue instruction as opposed to English instruction in grades one, two and three, generally leads to better English learning in the long run.[iii]
  • We need to ensure that the best practices to improve and develop reading skills are accessible to all our South African learners.

How can you do your part?

PARENTS

  • Parents should read to their young children-  preferably beautiful stories in their home language.
  • Children in Grade 1, 2 and 3 should read to their parents from their school workbooks.
  • Parents should ensure that there are books available at home.

SCHOOLS and other organisations

  • Schools must take up the responsibility to ensure that accurate strategies for literacy intervention and development are deployed at ALL levels.
  • TVET colleges and universities should empower all their students with the necessary skill sets to be able to interact effectively with the information they have to study.
  • Colleges and universities should ensure access to the best training courses available for teachers, facilitators and parents.
  • Government and private sector should work together to ensure that more libraries in our communities are established giving learners access to books.
  • Companies and individuals can sponsor students, schools and NPO’s with the implementation of a system like LAB-on-line (contact us at office@lectorsa.com for more information)

“At Lectorsa, we have a proven strategy. In the schools where we have implemented our solution, educational outcomes improved, learners’ self-confidence increased and growth was evident. We are ready to do our part in ensuring the next ten years see a major change in literacy levels in our nation.”

Excited about the future, Marshall said, “Transforming South Africa is possible.  Together we can make a real and sustainable difference. Join our movement – #yesican literacy campaign and be part of the solution.”

lectorsa 29 July 2019

A guest post from lectorsa

The following article is contributed by Minda Marshall, Director of Lectorsa, a member of ADESSA.

Lectorsa May 2019 2
Minda Marshall, Director of Lectorsa

“When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury — and so does society,” said Judge Stephen Murphy.

We have entered the second quarter of 2019 and the question remains: how much will our learners in South Africa improve in the crucial skills of visual processing, reading and comprehension? According to Employment and Social Development in Canada, reading comprehension will be one of the five top skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs.

This is why, as parents and teachers, we need to ask ourselves the important question: are we setting our children up for failure? Are we satisfied with the high percentage of learners not reading at a proficient level in our schools? More than 78% of South African learners cannot read for meaning, according to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).  During this study, which tested the reading comprehension of learners in their fourth year of primary school, South Africa ranked last out of 50 countries. Research has revealed that children who do not learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to remain poor readers and as a result fall behind in other academic areas too. It has also been proven that learners who struggle with reading are more likely to drop out of school. This is especially alarming when you look at the following statistics: of the 624,733 full-time public school students who entered matric at the start of 2018, only 512,735 actually wrote the exams.

A local study at one of the leading universities in South Africa indicated that “One of the most challenging issues Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) face, but one that is not fully recognised by either students or lecturers until some way into academic courses, is the problem of reading”. It is presumed that students who have entered university are proficient readers and have mastered the building blocks of reading, but this, however, is not the case for all students.

I believe one of the key reasons why children are not reading at an acceptable level is the basic assumption that learning to read is a natural process. However, years of cognitive neuroscience research has clarified that reading does not come naturally. Our brains are not wired to read.  Children need to be taught not only how to read, but to read-to-learn. In the first three years of schooling, children are taught how to read. This is the time in reading development when a love for reading and excitement about new information should be encouraged. During this phase of development the sounds we hear in spoken language are transferred to a written symbol system. We can call this phase of development the Learn-to-Read – the “phonics phase”.

From Grade 4 children should progress to the Read-to-Learn phase, moving from ‘sounding’ out words to being able to ‘recognize and decipher’ words, sentences, paragraphs and even whole chapters and constructing the meaning of the text on different levels of comprehension. Our research across more than 30 years has shown that this transition is becoming weaker and weaker and is now at a stage where it seems to not take place accurately or efficiently enough – thus the reason why so many children are struggling, also in higher grade levels. Many learners fail to make the required transition to fluent reading and subsequently  encounter significant difficulties in constructing meaning from text. Fluency in reading is critical for reading competency and is consequently fundamental in reading success.

This is one of the areas where we see a considerable improvement of up to five years on average with LAB-on-line. There is a great solution available for Junior to Senior learners, as well as for our students in the FET and tertiary phase of education, and parents and teachers alike should take note of this.

Lectorsa has designed and developed a progressive on-line solution called LAB-on-line, that specifically targets and develops visual processing skills, together with reading and cognitive skills. We use the science of neural-wiring and combine it with the physics of muscle training through the processes of the reading action. When these essential skills are developed and refined, academic outcomes are improved, learners’ self-esteem is boosted and they are equipped with life-long learning skills.

It is said that there is a profound connection between reading, understanding the world and being able to change it. If we want the next generation to not only succeed, but to build a better South Africa, we need to step in now and equip them with the right skill set.

 If we can address this critical problem, we can not only minimize the impact of the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality that our country faces, but we can help each child to realise his/her true potential.

Join us in our campaign, #YesICan, to improve literacy across the country. South Africa’s children deserve no less. Contact our office office@lectorsa.com to stand a chance to participate in the #YesICanLiteracyCampaign and receive a free 10-week reading development program to implement at your school before the end of the year.


LECTORSA WILL BE AT THE CAPE WINELANDS CONFERENCE/EXPO

Lectorsa is another one of ADESSA’s esteemed members who will be at the Cape Winelands Education District elearning event next month.

They will showcase a tool that empowers students to master skills like extracting the main idea when reading, increasing vocabulary, arranging information in logical sequence, internalizing facts, analysing subject knowledge, forming a basis for argument and the interpretation of new knowledge.

LectorSA 20 Feb 2019

Fresh perspective on Education

[This article is contributed by Minda Marshall of Lectorsa.]

The world will always need human brilliance, human ingenuity and human skills.” – Brad Keywell, Co-Founder and CEO, Update Technologies.  True! The world’s most priceless commodity is indeed, people. We need to invest in them, inspire them, and empower them to have an ‘I can’ mindset.

Currently, headlines in the media are painting a bleak picture of Lectorsa GAPeducation globally.  According to a recent article by Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), 617 million children and adolescents worldwide – six out of ten – are not reaching the minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.  This gives us reason for concern, especially in a time where everything is changing and Industry 4.0 is a reality. However, there is a solution.

We (you and I) are the solution. If we join forces we can combat illiteracy and improve educational outcomes across the globe. It can be done. At Lectorsa we have been doing this. ]With our virtual solution, LAB-on-line, we utilize the vehicle of reading and comprehension development to improve visual processing skills and cognitive abilities. We employ the principles of neuromodulation to help readers ‘build’ a structure for interaction with visual information in order to see faster, think better and remember more. Through an online, automated, real-time, data-driven system we achieve excellent results for the personal development of each of our users.  Added to that, of course, an improvement in silent reading, fluency (required for learning), language skills and improved academic outcomes. We have successfully ‘rewired’ more than 85 000 minds to learn, retain and to excel!

Someone once said, ”A child without education is like a bird without wings.” All of us want to see every child soar to great academic heights. We want to make it possible for them to unlock their true potential and to realize their dreams, for they are our future.

Lectorsa 1 4 Nov 2018We can make this happen! (#TogetherWeAreStronger)

At Lectorsa we have seen and experienced the transformation our system brings into the lives of learners across the board.  Join us in making the difference the world needs as we improve these crucial skills and results with proven scientific methods. Let’s accelerate and escalate the intellectual capital of our students.

#yeswecan

The following article has been contributed by Minda Marshall of Lectorsa, a member of ADESSA.

With the advance of technology and the 4th industrial revolution, we realize that life-long learning is the key to a successful life. One of the biggest hurdles to becoming a life-long learner can be our perspective on learning:

  • How do you view learning?
  • Do you think of it as “I have to” or as “I want to”?

Learning is crucial, but the beauty of learning lies in the love and excitement of growth. As life-long learners we have to keep it real and keep it fun!

Lectorsa Aug 2018After more than 30 years of experience in the educational field and first-hand insight as a mother of three, I know how important it is for an educational solution to be more than just an add-on, it needs to ignite excitement.

It needs to empower us with more than just skills – we need that added sense of achievement- the ‘magic’ that keeps on drawing us back for more.

While developing our virtual solution, LAB-on-line, we kept this in mind and we purposed to create a solution that empowers our users and focuses their attention. We have achieved success because we have currently assisted more than 85 000 users to unlock their true potential, while ‘playing’ at work and working at ‘play’.

Learners are under pressure to perform academically and the amount of information that they need to master has increased, but their skillset has not evolved. This has resulted in a GAP that we call the information/application GAP.

LAB-on-line develops the skills and gives you the strategies needed to bridge this GAP.  It ensures the best personal results and improves excellence in learning without adding more pressure on the student.

This year alone, with over 14 000 users on the primary school, high school and tertiary level, remarkable results have been achieved and that within completion of only 5 – 7 lessons.

In the Gr 4 division, their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) already increased from 87  to 130 and their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved with 4%. When these learners did the placement test at the beginning of this year, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing only 5 lessons, their skill level has already increased with two years. We cannot wait to see the improvement after the completion of all 20 lessons.  In 2017 the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) reported that 78% of Gr 4’s in SA cannot read for meaning nor retrieve basic information from the text to answer simple questions. We are turning these statistics around.

This year we once again partnered with amazing schools across South Africa and the educators’ dedication and will to bring about real change, in order to empower their students, has been truly inspiring.

Adrienne Rivera (HOD English at Assumption Convent School), one of our partnering schools, said: “Our girls have improved dramatically and it shows in their general school performance.”

As stated by the Principal of Kannemeyer Primary School, Ridwan Samodien, we need to be co-travellers on this journey of giving our children the best possible education.

Join us in building a better future by investing in our children, because South Africa #YesWeCan!

 

Making the impossible attainable

[This article has been contributed by Minda Marshall of Lectorsa.]

I’m just here to ask you to do what must be done, to do your part … to make the possible attainable.” These are the inspiring words of Mohamed Sidibay.

Mohamed Sidibay was born in Sierra Leone and at age five his country was engulfed in a civil war.  Mohamed was kidnapped by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. One night he fled and an Italian priest gave him shelter and connected him to an NGO that links students and teachers worldwide through technology. “Education has offered me choices, chances and challenges.  I appreciate the gift of education. I believe that even if we give people the whole world, that world could crumble. But if we give them an education, they can rebuild their world,” Mohamed wrote in an article published in Africa Renewal in 2017. Mohamed’s life story is truly inspiring and once again proves that education is the key to a better, brighter future for all.

LectorSA May 2018I have worked in the educational field for the last 30 years and have been in the privileged position to experience that feeling of pure joy when a child realises his/her full potential.  When they start with their first lesson on LAB-on-line (Lectorsa’s flagship solution) they are oftentimes nervous, some even more so after seeing their first report, but as they continue to engage the system and see their own progress, there is not only an increase in their results but also in their confidence.  This is still one of the most satisfying dimensions of the work we do – seeing the change that takes place within a person who realises… “Yes, I can do this!”

Change is clearly visible – we equip future leaders with the right set of skills to excel in the 21st century and beyond, but more importantly, we remind them that they are the authors of their own destiny.  At Lectorsa, we believe that you are born with everything you need to be exceptional.

For this reason, we also applaud Andria Zafirakou, the winner of the Global Teacher Prize award, for being a fellow solutioneer. She has helped change the lives of students in one of the UK’s poorest areas, giving them a high level of confidence and a strong chance at a better future. The responsibility we carry for a better future is clear: You and I must become the change!  Mohamed and Andria are but two examples of what can be achieved through education. The importance of their journey is the message we have to receive… It starts with us.

Our vision at Lectorsa is to have our solutions available for EVERY student in all nations, in order to support, improve and develop their Visual Processing and Cognitive Development Factor. This will increase neuroplasticity and enhance creative thinking patterns to develop new knowledge for better solutions.  These are exciting times…because across the globe people are busy making the possible attainable. We can change the world … together.

2018: The Year for Education par Excellence

The following opinion piece was contibuted by Minda Marshall, co-director and co-owner of Lectorsa, a leading research and development company (based in Mokopane, Limpopo) that supplies solutions internationally to the education and training market.

Lectorsa Feb 2018

We are already full speed into 2018 and at Lectorsa we believe that this is the year of bigger, better, more.  2018 is going to be the year where we should see an important change in our education system.

Last year South Africa was presented with hard facts:  A staggering 78% of gr 4’s in the country cannot read for meaning and according to Dr. Nick Spaull, “the ‘real’ gr 12 pass rate for 2017 is around 57% meaning that 43% of the youth in SA still get no qualification whatsoever”.

It is also important to realise that quality education is currently a big challenge, not only in SA but also globally.

At Lectorsa we are up to that challenge. The World Economic Forum recently predicted that robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030. These facts and predictions can bring us to a rather gloomy view of the future, however, I strongly believe that we should be very excited about the sweeping changes that are ahead of us.

Jack Ma (business magnate, investor, and philanthropist) recently indicated at the recent WEF Conference that as humans we should not try to compete with machines, to clarify, even Usain Bolt won’t be able to outrun a speed train. The changes ahead of us should inspire us to find invigorating new ways of living beneficial and fulfilled lives in the future – and as educators, we should prepare our students for these exciting times.

After attending EduTech Africa in October 2017, I was inspired to see thousands of educators from across the country pursuing the latest in teaching strategies, cutting-edge technology and solutions so that they can shape an educational environment that will be more relevant in the 21st-century and beyond.

This has just proven once again that there are many people that share our passion for improved cutting-edge education – educators who have a heart for children and who want to stay abreast of times.  They want to empower the next generation to look ahead with confidence, knowing they are competent to excel in the workplace.

We were in the midst of drafting our 2017 report when the news of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results broke and made numerous headlines: ‘78% of grade 4 pupils can’t read for meaning.’  “This suggests that the majority of learners cannot read well enough to succeed in subjects across the curriculum in Gr 4 and higher grades,” Prof Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator (NRC) for PIRLS 2016 South Africa, stated.

We are already busy changing this by bridging this gap and we have the results to prove it: In 2017 alone, we had more than a 1000 gr 4’s from schools across SA enrolled in our on-line solution, LAB-on-line. Their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved by 17% and their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) increased from 83 to 185 words per minute. Their Action-Interpret and Understand skill levels (combined VPF and CDF multiplied leads to an AIU Factor) improved with five years.  This means that when these

Gr 4’s did the placement test, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing LAB-on-line, their skill level had increased with 5 years – a year above the expected level.

I believe that these results are a powerful testimony to what can be achieved through accurate intervention and development.

Thomas Marshall, Co-Director of Lectorsa, recently said, “There will never be a more powerful and opportune time than NOW.” 2018 truly is the year of bigger, better – MORE!

Let us create a synergy in 2018 and build a bright future NOW through effective education

REFERENCES

[i] http://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/164/ZP_Files/pirls-literacy-2016-hl-report-3.zp136320.pdf

[ii] https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/opinion-and-analysis/2018-01-13-the-real-matric-rate-and-the-real-site-of-failure-in-education/

[iii] https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6344575666863824896